Saturday, November 23, 2019

Patience rewarded

I got to Nahanton Park at 8:40 this morning. Mary Lou was already there, and we decided that it wasn't very birdy. But I persisted. The upper garden revealed this attractive Field Sparrow. It looks like a different bird than the one I found at the lower garden a few days ago. 

Another boy scout project: This one is a "bug hotel." There's one at the lower garden, and this one on Woodcock Field. It looks like a piece of artwork by Louise Nevelson to me.

This beautiful male Eastern Towhee was certainly a nice surprise, at the soccer circle. 

An active group of American Tree Sparrows and Song Sparrows were working the reeds on the pond - just a little hard to photograph! And a beautiful raft of 17 Canada Geese were navigating the river. A productive morning after all! 

Monday, November 4, 2019

Another bright morning

A quick tour this morning of the gardens and the new lawn proved quite productive. The White-throated and Song Sparrows

posed nicely, and the Field Sparrow at the end of the upper garden at least allowed a photograph:

The new lawn was quite busy: Myrtle Warbler, Juncos, and two rather early Fox Sparrows:

Stopping in the woods next to the parking area produced a Golden-crowned Kinglet and this Brown Creeper (maybe the hardest to photograph of all birds):

Saturday, November 2, 2019

A bright morning

Seasonably bright and chilly! First birds at the park was a small group of Red-winged Blackbirds ...

The far corner of the upper garden was busy: Field  Sparrow, Hermit Thrush, and this Orange-crowned Warbler

There and elsewhere, lots of Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, Juncos, ... the usual suspects. Overhead, this Cooper's Hawk.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Walks in the park

Saturday, Linda Ferraresso led a Brookline Bird Club walk at NP. It started under light rain, but this didn't keep the birds down. There were quite a few Swamp Sparrows

and other regulars, as well as an early Junco. Three Warbler species included this Black-throated Green.

I returned this morning. After a cloudless night with a full moon, I was hoping for a different mix. Perhaps there was. I found a Myrtle Warbler, a Lincoln's Sparrow, and this Palm Warbler

as well as usuals such as this Song Sparrow

But a nice surprise was a flyover Peregrine Falcon. In the meadow I spotted this mantis -- or should I say he spotted me! I think it's a European, not Chinese - you can just make out the black ring on the inside of the arms at the body.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Sparrows' return

A quick visit this afternoon revealed that the fall sparrows are finally appearing! White-throated Sparrow and Indigo Bunting have been around for a while and were present today. But a nice addition today was Lincoln's Sparrow, at least three of them. I got some decent shots:

A Common Raven croaked overhead:

and I encountered the House Sparrow with a very pink bill that Suzette had reported:

There were a lot of Common Green Darners, like this female:

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Quick visit!

I decided to take a quick trip to the park this morning. Arrived at 8:40 a.m. It was 55 degrees and cloudy.

The lower gardens had several catbirds, blue jays, a grackle, lots of robins, 3 or 4 mourning doves, song sparrows and their short tailed young! Cardinals, downies, at least three flickers and a Carolina wren that I had been hearing, but suddenly appeared right in front of me. I went to aim my camera and it was gone in a flash.

The upper gardens had similar fare. Sadly, the house sparrows have really taken hold over the last several years. I could hear a nuthatch and chickadees, but didn't see them. A common Yellow- throat female perched on a fence, but left in a hurry. I was surprised to see one house wren still there that I'm sure was a young one because of its short tail.

As I was leaving, the house sparrows had taken over a plot that was filled with tall grasses. They were having a field day with the seeds. As I stood and stared, I realized there was a stranger among them. Its body shape and size was different. It was a female indigo bunting. The first I have seen on my own. I hope some day to see the male in full blue plumage.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Lawrence's Warbler!

I got to the Park late this morning, 9:15 or so, and went to the lower garden. In the scrub near the bat house I saw a flash of yellow and black ... Kentucky Warbler?? I hung around and waited to see it again, and this is what popped out:

This is "Lawrence's Warbler," a cross between Golden-winged and Blue-winged Warbler. It's much less common than "Brewster's Warbler," which displays the dominant traits. Interestingly, Lawrence's Warbler has been reported twice earlier this summer in eastern Massachusetts: once on Plum Island, once in Cambridge. 

After that, I couldn't complain about these guys, in the upper garden:

There was also a Blue-winged Warbler there, but it did not consent to being photographed. Near the Nature Center I caught up with this Spreadwing:

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Late August fun

Beautiful morning at Nahanton Park, with quite a good variety of birds. An empidonax flycatcher at the lower garden fled before I could id or photo it, but this accommodating Yellow-bellied Flycatcher was in the upper garden margin. Also there I found a Great-crested Flycatcher and a Yellow-billed Cuckoo.

Lots of Baltimore Orioles, Catbirds, and Black-and-white Warblers around, a little flock of American Redstarts at the lower garden along with a Common Yellowthroat ... and, near Woodcock Field, this Chestnut-sided Warbler:

The pond held two Solitary Sandpipers

No sparrows other than Song, but 30 spp altogether!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Looking for migrants...

Baby Catbird
I will combine by last Sunday and this Sunday's sightings.

Last week was 65 degrees and this week was 73 degrees, both days fairly sunny.

Last week the highlights were a red tail hawk and a blue gray gnatcatcher as well as a common yellowthroat.

This week, as I started in the lower gardens, it was very quiet. At first, I wasn't sure I would see anything.

Finally some song sparrows and goldfinches turned up. There was a lot of hubbub near the bird houses that have their backs to the golf course. Ian turned up and we couldn't see any movement at all, but it certainly sounded like a lot of babies just out of a nest. We decided it was most likely a brood of house wrens due to the nature of their chatter.

Common Yellow-throat young
I saw a common yellowthroat that appeared right in front of me. I think it was a young one and then at least 3 American Redstarts which were beautiful.

We had a hummer, a chipper, robins, cardinals and blue jays.

The upper gardens had several hummingbirds, goldfinches, flickers, barn swallows, baby house wrens and chipping sparrows. In the woods that take you down to the soccer field, we saw Eastern phoebe, White-breasted nuthatch and a male oriole.

Female Hummingbird
Down by the soccer field were some titmice and more redstarts, chickadees and Ian saw a warbling vireo.

A photographer that has been coming a lot recently has saw an indigo bunting last week and after Ian and I left, he came upon a pair of Cedar waxwings which we had missed.

So not much in the way of migrants, but they will be coming through soon!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

August movement

Beautiful morning at Nahanton Park, first time I've been there in a while. Right off, a pair of female Orchard Orioles surprised me, perched high in a tree near the lower garden. There were several Baltimore Orioles around too, quiet now so harder to find.

There were lots of dragonflies around, including this Blue Dasher...

and this male Common Whitethroat

There are still some Yellow Warblers around, and a lot of Common Yellowthroats

Also, several American Redstarts were singing but not visible, and Flickers are coming through in numbers. Some years Northern Mockingbirds don't show up here, but there was one today:

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Scarlet Tanager in Mulberry Tree!

Singing House Wren
After a brutally hot day yesterday and thunderstorms and heavy rains, today was beautiful at 69 degrees at 8:30 a.m.  A little hazy at first, but the sun came out and it was gorgeous.

I was greeted in the lower gardens by a very vocal house wren. He seemed happy about the change in the weather but also about his baby that was fluttering its wings and wanting to be fed.

Catbirds were singing as well as yellow warblers. I saw an Eastern phoebe in some tall brush and a hummingbird at the tippy top of the dead Tree of Heaven. Other birds included song sparrows and robins.

The meadow is in bloom with white fleabane, black-eyed Susans,
Common Milkweed
milkweed and yellow St. Johns wort. As I headed to the upper gardens, there was quite a bit of activity in the Mulberry tree. The fruit has started and the birds were very excited. There was a baby robin - still with a spotted breast, goldfinches, song sparrows, catbirds and young orioles (both male and female). Then a flash of red flew in and I assumed at first it was a cardinal. But when I finally caught it in my binoculars, it was a spectacular Scarlet Tanager. Sadly, every time I raised my camera, it disappeared. I wonder if this means it is breeding at the park. That would be so nice.

In the upper gardens were a few tree swallows, song sparrows and another hummer. A red-tailed hawk flew overhead.

Down by the soccer field were flickers, red-winged blackbirds and robins - all foraging in the grass. A couple of blue jays flew in.

The river was pretty quiet. Lots of people getting in kayaks and canoes. A perfect day for that. A flotilla of Canada geese swam leisurely down the river with their almost grown goslings.

Woodcock meadow was very quiet, save for a house wren who clearly made its presence known.
Lord Admiral Butterfly

On my way back to the parking lot was this beautiful Lord Admiral butterfly. At first its wings were flat on the ground and then every once in a while it wold raise it's wings. Maybe it just hatched and was drying out its wings. At any rate, they are absolutely stunning!

Please feel free to join us at the Friends of Nahanton Park Annual Meeting next Saturday, July 13th at 11:00 a.m. We will be located at the picnic tables outside the Nature Center and if it is raining, we will be inside. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Moonwort - A very rare fern

It was 55 degrees at 7:30 a.m. and cloudy.

Don Lubin, our local fern expert and Newton Conservators Advisor had contacted me to let me know that the rare moonwort was again blooming at Nahanton Park along Florries path.

We saw it in 2015, 2016 and 2017, but not in 2018. So it was with much excitement that I headed over this morning.

Don had given me instructions on where to find it which amounted to the most fun scavenger hunt I ever had.

On arriving at the park, I was met by two female does. They were so beautiful, but of course, quite frightened of me. I was barely able to get a photo when they both ran off with their white tails high in the air.

I went straight to the river to see if I could find the moonwort. It took me about 1/2 hour or so, but eventually the clues that Don gave me finally began to make sense and all of a sudden, there it was! It's a very strange fern that lives most of it's life underground. When it appears, it will have a couple of leaves, but is mostly an approximately 8" stalk with sporophylls and sporangia. The reproductive spores on top are not visible to the naked eye.

In the past, we have had a small cluster of moonworts, but Don had kept track of where it was on his GPS and there is a large tree down on exactly the spot where moonwort had been spotted before. We weren't sure if that would prevent the moonwort from being able to come up, but luckily, this specimen appeared recently.

We are thankful to Don for having discovered this rare treat at Nahanton Park.

Late migrants and more

An early morning walk through Nahanton Park last Friday was quite productive -- 45 species of birds, including this Magnolia Warbler in trees along the Woodcock Meadow --

and this female Chestnut-sided Warbler, at the soccer field traffic circle. 
These birds were camera shy, but not as shy as the Black-billed Cuckoo seen briefly at Woodcock Meadow, or the Willow Flycatcher heard in the wet woods west of of the Upper Gardens.

A Scarlet Tanager was present, as well as Rose-breasted Grosbeak -- though I heard just one grosbeak, strangely enough.

The Tree Swallow population seemed to have recovered somewhat from the devastating wet weather earlier in the month. 

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Lady Slipper Time

Lady Slipper
It was 62 degrees at 8:30 a.m. Comfortable and clear.

People used to tell me that lady slippers bloomed around Memorial day, and that may have been true, but with climate change it has been  moving up, so I was hoping to see some today and to my great excitement, there they were!

I found three in full bloom and one with a flower, but it hadn't turned pink yet. Also saw two plants with foliage only - so a total of 6! Not bad...

The lower gardens had our nesting tree swallows and a house wren, so all houses are spoken for.

Plenty of robins, yellow warblers, goldfinches, catbirds, song sparrows, orioles and a crow being chased by angry birds.

Male Oriole above nest
The orioles have built a nest in the same tree, same spot as they have the last few years. It's quite amazing. Guess they really like it there.

Mr. Oriole gave away the location as he quietly kept an eye on the nest. They arrive and in the blink of an eye, breeding is in full swing!

Ran into Alison and she and a friend had seen a bay-breasted warbler in the upper gardens. Sadly, I wasn't able to see it by the time I got up there. A common merganser flew overhead.

Tree swallow
The upper gardens had much the same with the addition of house finches, chickadees, cardinals and ughhh house sparrows.

I took the path at the back of the upper gardens down to the river for a change. Heard warbling vireos and common yellowthroats. Saw a Canada goose couple with their 2 young goslings strolling down the river.

I started up the path by the Nature Center to get to woodcock meadow when a pair of Carolina wrens caught my eye.

I hear them, but rarely see them, so I was surprised. They were both on top of a storage container next to the building which I thought odd. The next thing I knew, one took off into a broken light fixture attached to the building.

Carolina Wren in broken light fixture
They say that Carolina wrens will nest in the strangest places including old boots etc. and I believe that is what was happening. They seemed very excited and intrigued with the idea that this could be a great nesting spot!

Walked along the JCC path to the parking lot where I saw the Lady Slippers and also heard the sound of Peewees calling. They're back!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Not a Downy

Nice morning at Nahanton Park. I met up with Suzette (who reported a Hermit thrush from the lower garden and a Warbling Vireo from the river!). There was this Northern Mockingbird at the lower garden
 and a female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in the woods adjacent to it.
We found a Ruby-crowned Kinglet along Florrie's Path, along with a Palm Warlber,
and this male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at the JCC, along with a singing Pine Warbler.